With this book as inspiration I made quince jelly from the flowering quince that landscapes my condo's common areas and membrillo, a Spanish appetizer that's usually served with Manchego cheese. Membrillo is made with the quince pulp left over from jelly making.
My quince jelly and parchment-wrapped membrillo - my first two recipes from West's book
The membrillo recipe page from West's book. Mine turned out looking just like it was supposed to and it's delicious paired with Manchego cheese and crusty, artisan bread.
I always thought that one had to grow a big garden, have one's own fruit trees and berry bushes in order to have a harvest to save. And, that now that I lived in a condo, I no longer had the extensive food-producing gardens of Heartsease Cottage and therefore didn't have the resources needed to do much food preserving.
West's book belies that notion completely. The author lives in the Hollywood Hills area of California and relies on foraging, farmers' markets, and friends to provide his "harvest".
Among the condo's landscaping I found six things I can preserve! Rose hips, mahonia (Oregon grape), Siberian crab apples, pine cones (yes, there's a recipe for pine cone syrup in West's book), pyracantha (who knew one could make jelly from berries I grew up thinking were poisonous), and flowering quince fruit.
Then there's the nearby forest for even more foraging possibilities.
I also receive Full Circle's organic produce delivery every week and there's ample preserving opportunities there. Full Circle is like a farmers' market in a box!
West's book is full of charming and evocative photographs, some history of the harvests he preserves, foraging for food, and more. It is beautifully depicted and written. The recipes are easy to follow and enjoyable to make, not to mention, nice to eat, share, and gift. In fact, the book itself would make a wonderful gift for the "season saver" in your family.
The last few weeks I've been making some of the recipes from West's book. My larders are filling up with jeweled jars of Salad Onions, Elderberry Syrup, Pickled Eggs in Sriracha Sauce, Onion Confiture, and of course, Nostradamus's Quince Jelly and Ten Hour Membrillo, and last but not least, Chunky Cranberry Jam With Nuts and Ginger.
I also adapted his recipe for Citron Vodka. I don't have much use for vodka except when making medicinal tinctures, so instead of Citron Vodka I made Citron Vinegar.
Most of the recipes in West's book are great for those who enjoy water bath canning - from sweet to savory the recipes are delicious, easy to make, and elevate the results of home-canning to a more sophisticated level.
Where did I get the citron? In a recent Full Circle delivery! Citron is also called, Buddha's hand, and is an odd looking forerunner of modern citrus.
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Citron is a strange fruit. It's zest is like lemon rind. If forms long fingers and inside each one is white pith. There is no edible flesh inside as with an orange, lemon, or other citrus.